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Landmark Agreement on HFC in Kigali
Oct 19, 2016

Delivering the second major international agreement in less than a year to fight climate change, over 190 countries adopted an amendment to the 1989 Montreal Protocol in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda to eliminate planet-warming HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) gases. 

Key Points

  • The amendment will allow the use of ozone-saving Montreal Protocol to phase-out HFCs, a set of 19 gases in the hydroflurocarbon family that are used extensively in the air-conditioning and refrigeration industry. 
  • HFCs are not ozone-depleting but are thousands of times more dangerous than carbon dioxide in causing global warming.
  • The phase-out scheduled under the amendment is estimated to avert 70 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions between 2020 and 2050. 
  • This is considered equivalent to shutting down more than 750 coal power plants, each of 500 Mw capacity, or taking about 500 million cars off the road from now to 2050.
  • Complete elimination of HFCs by the year 2050 is estimated to prevent a 0.5-degree celsius rise in global temperatures by the end of this century.
  • For this reason, the Kigali Amendment is considered absolutely vital for reaching the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperature rise to below 2-degree celsius compared to pre-industrial times.
  • The amendment to the legally binding Montreal Protocol will ensure that rich and industrialised countries bring down their HFC production and consumption by at least 85 per cent compared to their annual average values in the period 2011-2013.
  • A group of developing countries, including China, Brazil and South Africa, are mandated to reduce their HFC use by 85 per cent of their average value in 2020-22 by the year 2045. 
  • India and some other developing countries—Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and oil economies like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait—will cut down their HFCs by 85 per cent of their values in 2024-26 by the year 2047.
  • The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is legally binding and will come into force from January 1, 2019. 

Just a few weeks ago, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, a UN body, had reached an agreement on reducing emissions from global aviation. Earlier this month, the Paris Agreement received the minimum required number of ratifications to come into effect from November 4, well before the start of the next round of climate talks in Marrakech.

India Welcomes Agreement: The Kigali Agreement is a reaffirmation of the global intent to mitigate climate change and exemplifies international co-operation in this regard. India joins the nations of the world in lauding the Hydroflurocarbon (HFC) Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, agreed to at the 28th Meeting of Parties at Kigali, Rwanda. 

  • The Agreement upholds the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR & RC). 
  • It recognizes the development imperatives of high-growth economies like India, and provides a realistic and viable roadmap for the implementation of a phase-out schedule for high global warming potential (GWP) HFCs.

India is happy to have played a positive, constructive and collaborative role towards reaching this agreement. Right from the outset, India demonstrated exemplary flexibility and an open mind to work with all nations. This enabled a fair and equitable, yet ambitious Agreement that is in the best interest of our people, in the best interest of all developing nations, and in the best interest of the world.


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